Video

How do we teach the history of imprisonment in the United States when mass incarceration continues to shape our current social landscape? Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellow Emily Hainze will speak about a curriculum project she is developing in partnership with the Prison Public Memory Project, a non-profit dedicated to recovering, preserving and interpreting the historical artifacts and cultural memory of prisons, and the communities with which they are entwined.

Since the 1940s, invocations of "close reading" (however understood) have figured centrally in controversies over new methodological developments in literary studies: e.g., the New Criticism, structuralism, New Historicism, deconstruction, ideology critique, and, notably now, the Digital Humanities. The talk recalls some of those controversies and considers how the idea or ideal of "close reading" operates in current debates about-- and within-- the Digital Humanities.

Participants in "Description Across the Disciplines" will consider the relation between description and other modes of engaging with objects of analysis, such as interpretation, evaluation, argument, and critique.

Participants in "Description Across the Disciplines" will consider the relation between description and other modes of engaging with objects of analysis, such as interpretation, evaluation, argument, and critique.

Participants in "Description Across the Disciplines" will consider the relation between description and other modes of engaging with objects of analysis, such as interpretation, evaluation, argument, and critique.

Emily Hainze is a doctoral candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she writes and teaches about 19th- and 20th-century American literature. Her dissertation focuses on women’s incarceration in the United States, exploring how questions of narrative and genre have been shaped by the conceptualization of women’s crime from the late 19th century onward. As a Public Humanities Fellow at the Heyman Center, Emily will work to develop an online repository for digitized archival records of women and imprisonment, with an eye towards classroom use.

Mary Grace Albanese is a doctoral candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her dissertation centers on the role of the Haitian Revolution in early 19th-century French-U.S. literary exchange. Her other research interests include translation theory, the transatlantic Gothic, and the legal history of slavery. She is also a translator between French and English, with multiple areas of specialization including law, medicine, and education. As a Public Humanities Fellow, Mary Grace will create a forum for the collection, translation, and publication of Haitian history as told by Haitians themselves. Through a trans-lingual oral history initiative, the project aims to preserve and transmit contemporary Haitian narratives.

Author Maxine Hong Kingston read from her work and discussed her writing as part of the Heyman Center for the Humanities Writing Lives Series and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race's Artist at the Center Series. Dorothy Ko, Professor of History at Barnard College, and Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Adjunct Faculty at Columbia University School of the Arts and Founder of the Asian American Writers Workshop, served as discussants.